Tackling air pollution: the private sector role

Business: aligning climate and clean air plans

Nearly every business contributes to air pollution via operations and supply chains. Common sources include the emissions from burning fuels used to heat buildings, emissions from cooking, and harmful gases released via distribution and delivery vehicles.

Business leaders are making commitments to prevent climate catastrophe and set clear science-based emissions reduction targets. Because many sources of air pollution are also contributing to climate change – transportation, building operations, etc – companies that invest in solutions to address air pollution, can simultaneously reduce their carbon footprint. By targeting health and climate co-benefits together, companies can set priorities, build support and momentum, and demonstrate greater impact, faster.

Taking action now to better understand a company’s air pollution footprint can give that business a competitive edge in accelerating solutions. But you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Improvements in sensor technologies and advanced analytics have the potential to be used at scale in cities around the world, to collect unprecedented amounts of information on air pollution, which can be used by corporate leaders to design and act on a climate plan with sufficient speed and scope to match their targets.

Air pollution is costing your business:

  • Pollution and traffic congestion can disrupt daily business operations, air pollution costs the global economy $225 billion dollars each year in lost labor income, and negatively impacts stock market performance.
  • Studies have shown that poor outdoor air quality is likely to have a negative impact on job performance, even if you work indoors at a desk.
  • Cities that have severe air pollution problems will increasingly be seen as less desirable places to work and live – thereby negatively impacting talent recruitment.